At the bottom of this article, you will find the translation into the other working languages of the ILO.

1)Why did you agree to chair this General meeting?

I felt honored to have been asked to chair this year’s general meeting of the ILO Staff Union.  I have just returned to ILO HQ after five years in the field, but in the past two years, I have played an active role in preparing the Staff Union’s survey on contracts. Our union is at a critical point in negotiations on contracts and a new mobility policy with the Administration, with the potential to make the most substantial gains in job security and mobility for ILO staff in over a decade.  But as I know from my time in the Staff Union Committee, nothing is negotiated until everything is negotiated, and we need the membership of the union to be briefed on a) the progress to date b) the stakes for all ILO staff, and c) we need our membership to be mobilized and ready to back our negotiating team in the weeks and months ahead.  With DG Houngbo’s Administration, I am optimistic that we can get the type of agreement on contracts that eluded us under DG Guy Ryder.   We need to mobilize and grow the membership of our union this year to demonstrate our resolve.

2) What does union involvement mean to you?

I am celebrating my 20th year as a union member this year. To me being involved in the union is about being a part of a movement that is based on “the needs of the many,” – not “the needs of the few” as Mr Spock said in Star Trek.”  The labor movement brings us together as working people to negotiate as one with our employer for the improvement of our work environment and to ensure that the ILO adheres internally to the principles of social justice, equality, and Decent Work that it promotes throughout the world in partnership with our tripartite constituents. 

3) What opportunities do you see for the Union in the year ahead?

I see 3 key opportunities ahead of the ILO Staff Union in 2024.  First, we have the opportunity to activate and expand our membership, through building relationships with new staff and with colleagues who have never joined our ranks.  Second, we have an opportunity to negotiate a new contracts and mobility policy that all ILO staff believe in and can stand behind, in place of the current flawed system based on two classes of citizenship and geographic mobility only for a fraction of colleagues.   Third, as a global staff union we have an opportunity to build stronger links of solidarity with our colleagues in the field, not only in the ILO but across the UN system. We have lost over 120 UN colleagues in the war in Gaza over the past several months and we have many staff in Sudan who have lost family members in the course of war.  We owe it to our field colleagues to be more responsive to their needs and struggles for a better life.

4) What message would you like to pass on to all the colleagues?

The message I would like to pass on to our colleagues is a simple on.  Not one of us is alone as we strive for a more stable job situation, recognition for our efforts, and dignity in the workplace.  Let’s open our office doors more often and forge stronger relationships with one another.   As a union we have an opportunity to improve our workplace in our various offices across the globe, and to advocate and insist upon greater equality in our terms of conditions of employment.  Let’s make it happen.

Version française(deepl): ici

Spanish version (deepl): aquì

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